Rudy Garcia’s house has always carried the spirit of welcoming everyone who stood on its porch. Perhaps that stems from its past, long ago, when it was a place of worship.
“We haven’t really turned anybody out,” said Garcia, who has his family over frequently. “It was a house of the Lord. If anybody needs shelter or a place to rest on, well there it is, right there.”
The house on Jefferson Street — between The Kerrville Daily Times and H-E-B — is being torn down and will be rebuilt in Kerrville South. The move is spurred on because of H-E-B’s store expansion, but it’s not the first time the building has changed locations.
In 1885, the Presbyterian Church worshipped at the Union Church, a building they likely owned a part of and that many different denominations met in, said church historian Judy Ferguson.
But after raising some funds, the Presbyterians built their own little church around 1888 on the corner of Jefferson and Earl Garrett streets.
There they remained for roughly 30 years, until Myrta Scott Schreiner and her husband donated a large amount of money for a new chapel, which continues to be used by First Presbyterian Church now.
“They recall with emotions akin to sadness the little old building which was young with them,” read some notes from a church session in April 1923. “May this more stately mansion lack none of the fellowship which blessed us there.”
In order to build the new chapel, church leaders were faced with either moving or demolishing their old chapel. Instead, the building was moved to its current location on Jefferson.
“What I found interesting is that if I had just read (the minutes) and didn’t have any other source of information, I would have thought it had been torn down,” Ferguson said. “I don’t find any record of it having been moved.”
Garcia said it ceased being a church around the mid-1920s and started being a residence, but the only record he knows about after that isn’t until 1946, when his family bought the building.
“We had a lot of area businesses (around it) that are now gone, of course,” Garcia said. “We still had that old-town feel that we had when I was growing up a young boy.”
He said he can’t choose one particular favorite memory of the house, but something he’s always loved is the feeling of celebration and sharing at the house over the years through birthdays and holidays.
“We had a lot of relatives,” Garcia said. “If anybody needed a place to stay, if we had a bed somewhere in the house, they were welcome to it. ... It hasn’t been dull.”
H-E-B bought up the property, but Garcia said that considering the growth of the town and the higher, wilder traffic rushing by, it’s time for a move anyway. And since H-E-B originated in Kerrville, he supports the store’s expansion, which will eat up a couple of other properties, Hays Street and part of an alleyway.
“It makes sense that we should have a bigger store and the best,” Garcia said. “It’s going to be a pretty good-sized store, I can tell you that. There’s always the good and the bad that go along with these things, but hopefully in the future, it’ll be better for the whole town in general.”
The house is under controlled demolition and will likely be finished by next week. All of the materials are going with Garcia to his Kerrville South property, where it will be a guest house next to the house that is already there.
“Right now, at this point, it’s just a pile of lumber,” Garcia said. “I’m going to, Lord willing, rebuild it to its original structure, not with the add-ons that were put on as time progressed. It’s just a nice, simple, square building.”